Sunday, December 15, 2013

Advent with Abi -- Joy as Wholehearted Response

The third week of Advent begins ... and I'm working through Baxter Kruger's books again, now that I have finished listening to so many hours of his lectures.  Reading the books, I hear him and his wonderful Mississippi accent in my head....  :^)

During the time I've been reading and listening to and meeting Baxter this past year, I've also been watching and listening to Brene Brown talk about courage and vulnerability and wholeheartedness. Their messages have arrived at just the right time -- kairos time -- when I was both in need of the message and able to hear and receive the message. What a blessing....

I was struck this morning as I was reading ... struck at how much power we give to the lies that are whispered around and about us ... rather than believing Jesus and his Father and the Holy Spirit. The darkness of our fallen minds, Baxter says, makes sense to us.  The amazing perichoretic cHesed of the blessed Trinity -- well, it doesn't make sense to us at all.  Not unless we repent of our fallen and darkened wrongheadedness!  Lord, have mercy!

At this third week of Advent -- as the darkness is starting to lift because of the approaching birth of the Light of the World -- I found a small trickle of joy welling up in my soul. As I have walked along with Jesus, choosing to side with him against the lies of "I am not", I have a new kind of courage growing.  The courage to tell the story of who I am with my whole heart. (Thank you, Brene, for these words!)  And I find that the telling of this story an act of joy.

Joy is the fruit of courage, it seems.  We know that it is a fruit of the Spirit, too...but I find the telling of the story of who I really am with my whole heart cannot be told without joy.  I think this is because those willing to risk sharing their whole heart -- not just the good stuff and not just the bad stuff, but the good and bad stuff along with the hard but important stuff makes up the whole.  And Father, Son and Spirit love the whole me...not just the nice shiny parts....

C.S. Lewis wrote a book called Surprised by Joy ... and I am beginning to understand that a bit better today.

This week, as you ponder the Joy of Jesus -- Father's Eternal Son Incarnate -- may you find that his joy is your joy, too.  That his truth is your truth. That his peace is your peace. That his courage is your courage. That his faith is your faith.  Because everything that he shares with the Father in the Spirit is yours -- if you will radically reorient your mind and believe that what Jesus has said and done is actually, finally, totally, joyously TRUE.

Joy to the world!  The Lord has come.  Let earth receive her King!

Be blessed....


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